Written for The Argo by Victoria Orlowski
On October 20th, 2022, Rear Admiral Kevin M. Sweeney, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, was hosted by Stockton’s Model United Nations to discuss current and international political issues. The last time he came to talk for Stockton was through the Hughes Center of Public Policy, where the talk was hosted over Zoom.
When asked what it meant to her to be able to speak to him, Erin Kee said, “Having him come speak to us is really fortunate, and we are all really excited. It’s a really cool diplomatic experience hearing from someone who has worked in that kind of situation and hearing him speak. It’s especially pressing because we’re going to a conference in about two weeks and we have to speak like that as well. We learn from how they speak and interact as well as are interested in the types of things he’s worked on before.”
A man of few remarks, Sweeney wasted no time with a speech. He gave students a brief summary of his life and career before diving directly into what the students wanted to talk about. Sweeney addressed topics from defending women’s rights internationally, experience in the military and what the military is doing to provide resources for mental health, how to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of non-state actors, national security in the US, the war between Russia and Ukraine and if it’ll have effects on the future, the rising tensions between Taiwan and China and what that means for the United States, and even the importance of mentoring.
The talk was a great discussion on what the United States is doing to address these issues and what Sweeney’s experiences have been in working on how to address these issues.
In response to being asked about what it means to come to speak to students, he responded, “I love it. You all are the future and I mean this sincerely. I stuck around the navy for thirty-two years to be around bright, young, motivated people who make things happen.”